Flashes start run; Lady Flashes in 2nd round|[04/19/07]
Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 19, 2007
The excuse of youth being a detriment to success for the St. Aloysius Flashes is getting a little old.
For the last two seasons, while most of its starters played as seventh, eighth and ninth graders, the Flashes took their lumps in the postseson. They lost twice in the Class 1A regionals and limped back to Vicksburg for another long summer of trying to build on their successes while chalking up the loss to being young.
This time is different, though. The Flashes (22-6) come into their first-round playoff series with Edinburg as division champions and will host the first game. Even though most of their starters are still freshmen and sophomores, they’ve become grizzled veterans over the last two years.
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And with that poise comes confidence, and the idea that it’s time to take the next step.
“We’ve got some more experience. Everybody’s older and better, and has the confidence now that we can beat anybody,” said St. Al catcher Sean Weaver, a sophomore who is in his third season as a starter. “I used to think about (being young) in eighth and ninth grade. Now, I don’t think about it. We just go out there and play with anybody.”
That includes Cathedral, a longtime nemesis that the Flashes finally overcame to win the Division 7-1A Tournament last week. St. Al had lost to the Green Wave nine straight times, but beat them 5-3 on Saturday in the tournament final.
The victory gave St. Al homefield advantage against Edinburg and helped it avoid a first-round matchup with a talented Lake team. It was also a big mental hurdle for the Flashes, who have played and beaten a lot of good teams the last two years but never could seem to beat Cathedral.
“It was huge. I was glad we got them out of the way,” Weaver said. “It was good to beat them. But we’ve got to beat Edinburg now.”
In fact, that was coach Clint Wilkerson’s message to the Flashes as they began preparing for the playoffs on Monday – as nice as it was to beat Cathedral, it means nothing if they don’t take care of business from this point forward.
And that starts with Edinburg, a team that was less than stellar for most of the season but got hot at the right time and slipped into the playoffs. The Eagles upset Puckett in the semifinals of the Division 6-1A Tournament, then lost 22-0 to Lake in the championship game.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year is not beating Cathedral, it’s winning a state championship. You don’t have to win your district or beat Cathedral to be a state champion,” Wilkerson said. “From a confidence standpoint, it helps. But we’ve beaten good teams all year. And we have to look at Edinburg as the best team we’ve played all year.”
Class 1A playoffs
Today – best-of-three series
Edinburg at St. Aloysius, 7 p.m.
St. Aloysius at Edinburg, 6 p.m.
Edinburg at St. Aloysius, 2 p.m., if necessary